03.11.14

THAILAND TRIP / PART TWO

ok, we are on to our second post from the thailand trip. (see the first here) after 4 lovely days staying in ko lanta, we took a two-hour ferry ride (about $15 per person) to railay beach for the remainder of our trip. here’s all the details on where we stayed, what we did, where we ate, and all that good stuff. at the end of the post, i will answer questions i received and give a little advice on traveling to thailand. make sure to click after the jump, because there’s a looooot of pics!

pulling up to this beach really is epic. there are massive limestone rocks on either side of the beach, making it only possible to arrive by boat. (although it’s technically not an island) you get off the ferry and get into a long tail boat for a few minutes, since the ferry can’t take you all the way to the shore. again, you climb out of the boat into knee length water, drag your bags up the sand and our hotel was right in front of us. this was a much smaller area than we were before…no cars or scooters, just walking. i brought about 6 or 7 pairs of shoes, and should have only brought two: one pair of flip flops for the beach and boats and one pair of converse for scooters or long walks. really trying to learn my lesson and pack less. i did alright with the clothes but the shoes are the heavy part!

railay definitely seemed more touristy than ko lanta, but not too bad. i noticed that the prices were quite a bit higher, maybe due to the number of tourists, but also because they have to get everything to railay by boat.

 CLICK TO READ THE WHOLE THAILAND POST BELOW…

we stayed at railei beach club (thanks to a commenter for recommending!) there are tons of houses on the property and we were able to get one of the last ones available (8m) it had it’s own deck that i’m standing on above, with an outdoor bathroom (which was very clean), and it’s own full kitchen detached from the house. there were quite a lot of mosquitoes in the evenings, but luckily they had nets on the bed. 

this resort would be perfect for families or people traveling in a group. it felt very safe and clean, right by the beautiful ocean, and had a really helpful staff. i gotta say, i sort of missed the “community” vibe that our ko lanta resort had with the common dining area, pool and beach bar…this place was much more secluded and didn’t have a pool. they had a tiny happy hour spot in the front, but other than that you were kind of on your own. again, it just depends what you want on your vacation. it was still wonderful and very convenient to walking to places.

it takes a day or two to get used to showering outside in the open air. but it’s pretty nice actually.

a few shopping credits since people have asked…

swimsuits from j.crew
swim coverups from show me your mumu
madewell espadrilles
fleabag backpack shown in photo
free people sunglasses
stevan alan hat
calypso st. barth dress for fancy evening
madewell casual day dress

and how could i NOT talk about the monkeys everywhere. within a few minutes of us getting there we saw at least 20 monkeys hanging out together on the side street that we walked on to go get food. it’s fascinating to just watch them do their thing, and luckily they didn’t seem aggressive. i have heard quite a few stories about monkeys stealing belongings, and we were instructed to keep all our windows closed when we leave because the monkeys will come in and tear through the bungalow looking for food! ha, can you imagine walking in to that scene?

we favorite day was exploring phra nang beach. gosh, it was so gorgeous. you walk on a path for a few minutes and see all of these cave-like overhangs on the side of a hill. then you reach the other side which opens up to a fantastic beach with cool rock formations and white sand. this is where i decided to finally get back into the ocean (after 4 years!) the water was clear, calm and i felt safe there. what a memory. you could also see rock climbers putting on a show for people there. we took our underwater camera out in the water and took a bunch of pictures. most came out blurry, but some are pretty special.

we first went to phra nang at sunset and it was barely crowded, but visited again during the afternoon and found out that it gets very crowded. avoid mid-day if you are looking for a calm experience there.

and how could i forget about these phallic carvings found in the caves right on phra nang beach. a shrine to a princess goddess in krabi…i have to say, they were a bit shocking to just come across (especially the one in the back. haha)

our final night of the vacation we booked a 4 hour sunset cruise through our hotel (about $40 per person) and that included dinner, snorkeling, a boat ride at sunset with a group of about 15 people, and cliff jumping. i’m really happy we decided to do this, it was the perfect ending to our trip.

cheeeeeesin after i finally got the guts to snorkel!

arian was the brave one and decided to jump off the top of the boat AND go cliff jumping. and that’s when i just observed and thoroughly enjoyed my margarita with some new friends we met on the boat. he’s far more adventurous than me…but i like that about him. at the end of the sunset you could see 1000’s of bats flying way overhead going towards some fruit trees on the island. such a cool sight! i’ll remember that boat ride for a long time.

as far as food, i didn’t enjoy what we had as much as ko lanta…BUT! they had a place called the mangrove restaurant where the food was really affordable and delicious. we went back three times for coconut smoothies and pad see ew, and prawn panang curry. the mango sticky rice from the cart across the path is pretty awesome too.

line

Q & A:

“do you need to get vaccinations before you go?”
you aren’t required to have any to enter the country, but we decided to be safe. we went to the healthy traveler in pasadena and they recommended we get 3 before going: tetanus, hepatitis A and typhoid. i hadn’t gotten shots in over 10 years, so i figured it was a good time to do that anyways. i’m also terrified of doctors/shots but this place was really amazing. didn’t hurt at all and was done in less than 3 seconds! not kidding. but beware, shots are pricey. those three cost us each around $300! but that’s better than risking it i think.

“how much do you think it costs to travel to thailand?”

the plane ticket is definitely the most expensive part. it cost us about $1200 per person. we flew cathay pacific which is really nice and only had a one hour layover in hong kong. there are cheaper flights if you do more layovers, but we didn’t want to waste vacation time. it took us about 17 hours to get there and around 14 to get home. the flights are really easy if you get a red eye so you can sleep most of the way.

as for prices of the hotels, there are SO many options. everyone was telling me that i should just book one night and then look around for places once i was there…but i’m a little too type A for all that. our first hotel was $115 a night with breakfast included and the ocean view, and our hotel on railay beach was around $220 a night. like i said, i found railay to be more expensive and the house we stayed in was newer/nicer than the first hotel in ko lanta. compared to the U.S., those prices are awesome for what we got, so i’m not complaining. i saw a lot of hotels for way less than $100 a night while i was researching, it all depends what you are looking for.

so let’s do some numbers: (averages)

$2400 – roundtrip flight for two people
$620 – three nights hotel in railay
$150 – one night hotel in phuket
$460 – four nights in ko lanta
$25 – cab from the airport to our hotel in phuket (50 mins)
$100 – long tail boat & 2 hour cab from krabi to phuket airport
$100 – total ferries/boat rides for two travel days to diff. islands
$250 – food for two people + cocktails, for 8 days
$30 – scooter rental for three days
$600 – vaccinations before trip
$180 – activities we did: cooking class, sunset cruise, kayaking, snorkeling

total: around $2500 each, for two people to travel to thailand. i added a little bit, because i am sure i forgot a few things!

“what should i pack?”

pack light!! but don’t forget a few key things:
• your passport travel power adapter that works with the plugs there
• sun screen
• bug spray (i still got so many mosquito bites at night!)
• medicine for an upset stomach (sometimes the food can be hard on your stomach until you’re used to it)
• flip flops or shoes you don’t mind getting wet
• sneakers for longer walks, hikes, scooter rides etc.
• bathing suits & coverups (i wore mine all day most days)
• camera. the scenery is too good not to capture. we also brought an underwater camera!
• headphones, socks, layers for the freezing plane ride
• a backpack or cross-body purse for comfortably exploring
• hat (i always wear mine on the plane so it won’t get crushed)

and a few clothes of course. just less than you think…

 

what would you do differently if you went back and did the same trip?

i would fly into krabi airport instead of the phuket airport (wasted time with that mistake) i would add one more day so i could easily do a day trip to phi phi island. although people say it’s a lot of party/rave people at night, the water looked absolutely gorgeous when we stopped there on the ferry. we just didn’t have it in us to do more boat rides or day trips with only 8 days there. i think it was a good decision to do more days in ko lanta than railay beach because there isn’t much to do in railay. but it’s beautiful and i’m happy we went there. i wish i had researched where we could go shopping for some authentic gifts to take home. we didn’t see many shops that had this stuff when we were there, but on our drive to the airport, i saw a lot of gorgeous woven baskets and wished i could have stopped and explored them.

 

did you feel safe?

totally. besides me being a worrier when i travel abroad, (see herei felt really safe the whole time. one of the guys in a bar was explaining to me how thailand relies so much on tourism, so they go out of their way to make tourists happy and comfortable. and that’s exactly how it felt. the people were so friendly. yes, it definitely was more of a rustic experience than just checking into a fancy resort, however, we chose medium level hotels that still had some of the grittiness so we could have a more authentic experience. i also really felt like the cab drivers/ferry workers/hotel staffs etc were all very familiar with tourists coming in, asking for directions or transportation instructions and traveling around to different islands, so that was a relief.

so tell me, does thailand look like somewhere you’d want to travel to?! thanks for following along on my trip, hopefully you found some of this advice helpful!

make sure to check out the first part of the thailand trip here.

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50 Comments

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  • 1. Ale  |  March 11th, 2014 at 4:39 am

    Oh wow! These pictures are wonderful. Thanks to let me dream. Sorry for my terrible english. Congrats for all!

  • 2. sally mae  |  March 11th, 2014 at 5:03 am

    What kind of film did you use in your AE1? I am going to Mexico next week and am bringing mine!!!

  • 3. Sophie  |  March 11th, 2014 at 5:07 am

    I have SUCH wanderlust after looking through this post. Your pictures are so beautiful and your descriptions are wonderful too. Congrats on not only stepping back into the ocean, but going snorkeling too!

  • 4. Rhoda  |  March 11th, 2014 at 5:33 am

    oh my god, these pictures are amazing. really want to go on a plain and visit a warm country..

  • 5. Deniz  |  March 11th, 2014 at 5:35 am

    Hi I’ve just discovered your blog that’s so helpful for many subjects. And before our marriage when me&my bf think about a trip this guide makes us feel very inspired!!! Thanks so much for all details.
    I hope you’ll visit Istanbul one day as well :)

    Big hugs from Istanbul (‘.’)

  • 6. Christa  |  March 11th, 2014 at 6:25 am

    I would LOVE to go! These pictures were gorgeous and the prices were totally affordable considering you’re going half way around the world!

  • 7. Jacquelyn | lark & linen  |  March 11th, 2014 at 6:30 am

    Thaliand has always been on my list, but I’ve never been more convinced! Thank you so much for putting this all together – you’re going to make my future plans SIGNIFICANTLY simpler ;)

  • 8. Kim  |  March 11th, 2014 at 6:34 am

    I went to Thailand in January for the first time and absolutely loved it! Didn’t think it would have that kind of effect on me, but it’s such a beautiful place and the food is so amazing. Definitely want to go back :) I personally prefer staying in more authentic places and not going to the obvious tourist spots, we had so much fun exploring the north & south by motorbike (and like you said, there’s nothing to worry about, everyone is so friendly).

  • 9. Naomi A  |  March 11th, 2014 at 7:40 am

    I’d really love to stay on Krabi island and even looked into it, but the price for tickets was just too steep at this point in my life. Thank you so much for sharing your photos! (I thought those phallic statues were lipstick at first, haha!)

    xoxo, The Occasional Indulgence

  • 10. Dana Kay  |  March 11th, 2014 at 8:08 am

    Your pictures are stunning, thank you so much for sharing your trip with us! Also, the q&a section was very informative. Thailand is definitely on the bucket list for places to travel too.
    xo,
    Dana Kay
    danakay16.blogspot.com

  • 11. Chompu  |  March 11th, 2014 at 9:10 am

    Thanks for coming :) Those pictures are lovely. ^^

  • 12. cleaning services prices  |  March 11th, 2014 at 9:20 am

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  • 13. Jenny B  |  March 11th, 2014 at 9:50 am

    I went to Thailand with my husband and two kids, and it was the best trip we’ve ever taken. We fell in love with the people, the culture and spirituality, wildlife and nature, and incredible food. FYI, most health insurance includes vaccinations (ours did), so the $600 you paid would not be necessary. Also, our doctor gave us antibiotics to bring for us and the kids in case we got diarrhea from drinking the water. That is the one thing we didn’t quite realize, how important it was to not drink ANY tap water, and not to brush your teeth with it!

  • 14. Elyse  |  March 11th, 2014 at 10:23 am

    Holy moly was this helpful, Bri. Thanks for your thoroughness and all the eye candy–but the BUDGET part was SUPER helpful. Helps to sort of have an idea how much something like this might cost. Appreciate all the time you put into writing these posts! Everything looked lovely!

  • 15. Cassie  |  March 11th, 2014 at 10:44 am

    I’m actually planning to go to Thailand this summer!! Thank you so much for this guide…the photos are beautiful! I honestly cannot wait to catch the sunsets there, i heard they’re surreal.

    Check out some sunsets I’ve captured while traveling to costa rica, and more
    http://girlmeetsbrooklyn.com/sunset-chasing/

  • 16. Katie  |  March 11th, 2014 at 11:01 am

    My husband and I spent 3 weeks in Thailand in November, and we still cannot stop talking about it!It was the trip of a lifetime, we keep trying to think of things that could have been better but we can’t think of anything! It is an amazing place. The people, culture, food, landscape- incredible!

    If you ever go again and have more time, Chiangmai is an awesome place with sooo much stuff to do while still feeling quiet and laid back. We did a cooking course, zip lines, and elephants there.

    We also stayed a week on Phi Phi and it was the ultimate relaxation week! We stayed at Viking Nature Resort and would highly recommend it! We are by no means party people, and we found it very quiet and relaxing which we loved. But a short 10-15 min walk in to town if you like a bit more energy and night life.

    To anyone considering Thailand- stop thinking about it and just do it! You won’t regret it!!

    Thanks for the post!

  • 17. Roxy  |  March 11th, 2014 at 11:08 am

    This trip looked so amazing! Hopefully I can talk my guy into putting his shiny new passport to use. That single stamp is getting lonely.

  • 18. Julia  |  March 11th, 2014 at 11:09 am

    Bri, this looks absolutely amazing. Can’t wait for the opportunity to see Thailand. Also, I love your dress in photo #2 – it’s so beautiful! Where did you find it?

  • 19. caroline  |  March 11th, 2014 at 11:11 am

    It looks like you had such a wonderful time! Congrats on going into the water again, I’m still terrified. Where is that duffle backpack from? it’s so cute
    thanks!

  • 20. Ana Pradas  |  March 11th, 2014 at 11:14 am

    Wow,

    I can´t wait to go to Thailand!!! It looks like an amazing place and all those tips will be super helpful.

    I´m glad you went into the water after all that time. Costa Rica must have been really scary and it has to feel awesome that you snorkelled in Thailand :)

  • 21. allie  |  March 11th, 2014 at 11:16 am

    this is awesome. showering outdoors is the best! but those monkeys really freak me out.

  • 22. Denise @ The Lovely Bohemian  |  March 11th, 2014 at 11:17 am

    Oh man do I want to go to Thailand. You just made my longing that much stronger. Thank you SO much for all the information on how much it cost. You rarely see people offer up that kind of information and it’s so frustrating! I want to know what kind of money I’m looking at! Thanks for all of that info. Good to know.

    WONDERFUL photos. I want to see all of that! I think a trip to Thailand is in my near future. Better start planning!

    xo Denise
    lovelybohemian.blogspot.com

  • 23. Catina  |  March 11th, 2014 at 11:32 am

    wow, I think that what you did in both these posts is so great. Such a wonderful resource rather than sifting through nonsense on the internet. Absolutely wonderful job! And so glad to see you had such a great time! :)

  • 24. Lexi @ Glitter, Inc.  |  March 11th, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    This looks like such an incredible trip!

  • 25. Jocelyn Casey  |  March 11th, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    This is a great guide, Bri! As always, I love your photos and that you share so freely with all of us! I would love to take a trip to Thailand and Bali next year so these tips will be very helpful. Thank you for sharing the goodness! Big hug, Jocelyn xx

  • 26. Alex  |  March 11th, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    Loved this guide. We went to Thailand with a small group after my graduation — but we looped in Laos and Cambodia as well. All three of them offer completely unique experiences and I dream of going back often. You feel so in tune with natures with the cliffs, ocean and jungle. So beautiful (and beautiful pictures) — thank you for sharing and allowing me to reminisce!

  • 27. Noelle  |  March 11th, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    I went to Thailand a few years ago. It was never high on my priority travel list, but I loved it more than I ever imagined. The food, the people, the culture. And despite being expensive to get to, once we got there it was quite affordable. Glad you enjoyed it as well!

  • 28. Bitty  |  March 11th, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    Love this, such beautiful photos. I can feel the love and adventure pouring through the shots.

    One thing that I can recommend: tea tree oil. Keeps away the bugs. I put a couple drops in my sunscreen and my shampoo. I go to Thailand every year to visit a children’s home and lice, scabies, mosquitoes, cockroaches, etc are all super common there. The tea tree oil keeps them all at bay. I literally get NO mosquito bites. I’m not even exaggerating.

    Thanks so much for sharing, Bri. Beautiful photos and advice!

  • 29. Crystal  |  March 11th, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    Absolutely an amazing blog!! The pictures add just the right touch for me to imagine I was there :))

  • 30. Julie Kuberski  |  March 11th, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    To be honest, I was never super interested in traveling to many asian countries. For some reason, most of them never really interested me (other than a select few spots). However, your trip + your photos totally changed my mind. If we ever get the chance, my fiancé and I would both love to go to Thailand.

  • 31. maggie  |  March 11th, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    Hahhaha, those carvings are amazing! Actually, everything about this post is amazing. Thailand was never on my travel radar, but now it is!

  • 32. Molly {Dreams in HD}  |  March 11th, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    what an absolute dream!

  • 33. jess vartanian  |  March 11th, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    LOve the white sundress! Where is it from? Been looking for a really simple cotton dress for my beach wedding.

  • 34. Danette  |  March 11th, 2014 at 5:08 pm

    His cute butt in those cutoffs just took me back to 1978 when I first discovered that boys have cute butts.
    I’m sorry did I miss the point here, forgive me…;)

  • 35. Jackie Lamas  |  March 11th, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    oh man I would love to go there!! a friend of mine went years ago and the photos of the places they visited are surreal!

  • 36. THE-LOUDMOUTH  |  March 11th, 2014 at 11:48 pm

    I loved these posts! I would love to see more personal photos… they give such a unique and genuine touch to your blog :)

  • 37. Darci C  |  March 12th, 2014 at 2:04 am

    Looooove these pictures. Thailand is my absolute favorite place to go. If any of you are on a budget and still dreaming of going there, it can be extremely affordable. I went with 2 girlfriends for 3 weeks and it cost me $1500, went back 2 years later with my husband and it was 3,000 total for both of us for 11 days. That included our roundtrip flight and all flights while we were there. We stayed in places once we got there and also used Agoda.com the entire time to check prices on hotels. They often will include a free breakfast bonus or other incentives. To get around once you are there AirAsia and Thai Airways have great prices the day of even. Check on kayak.com. Bri, next time you go, you have GOT to go to Chiang Mai! And make sure you are in Bangkok on a Friday, Sat or Sunday to experience the Chatuchak market. It’s mind blowing. I believe it is the biggest market in the world and the airtrain dead ends there. Your photos make me miss it and I can’t wait to get back there. I can’t imagine vacationing anywhere else now! Oh and PS people, American Express SPG Card…if you apply months before you go and get your incentive points (20,000) there are a ton of super nice hotels that only cost 3000 points like the Le Meridian in Chiang Mai that are a nice break in between the fun little bungalows etc.

  • 38. Kristina  |  March 12th, 2014 at 5:32 am

    What great photos and excellent advice!! My husband and I went three years ago for three weeks, but to the opposite side of the country. We did Bangkok, Koh Samui, and Koh Pha Ngan. We LOVED it! We stayed at even more rustic places that you : ) and managed to only spend about $30-40 a night, which was awesome. Everything is so reasonably priced and everyone is so gracious and nice (“kah! kah!”). You’ve really captured the laid-back spirit of the country.

    I agree with #16 Katie up there–just do it!! You will be so happy you explored and discovered such a beautiful gem. Happy travels!

  • 39. saltygirl  |  March 12th, 2014 at 7:20 am

    i appreciate the trip recap and for sharing the prices! thailand is definitely on my travel list now. thanks!

  • 40. Anneli  |  March 12th, 2014 at 7:47 am

    These two posts are great, thanks Bri! I really want to go to Thailand someday and I’m sure I’ll look them up again when I start doing our planning.

  • 41. gracie  |  March 12th, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    Thank you so much for such a thorough post, my boyfriend would like to go here for our honeymoon, I’m still so unsure. I’m just not very outdoorsy!

  • 42. mollie  |  March 13th, 2014 at 8:08 am

    Thank you so much for the information! You make it seem totally doable for Type A people, haha! I very much appreciate the cost breakdown. I feel a lot of people/bloggers avoid talking about money and how much things cost. It’s so helpful and really put things in perspective. Thank you again!

  • 43. cheyenne  |  March 13th, 2014 at 11:29 pm

    gosh, it looks amazing! i really want to go to thailand (if possible, next year), so its really interesting to see what you did, spent and brought!
    xo, cheyenne

  • 44. ly 8000$ forAnd that's for 2 persons! We saw a lot, expierenced a lot. The best trip in my life! You should go there too! :)  |  March 15th, 2014 at 4:56 am

    Thanks about story…maybe my next trip will be to Thailand. :) We just arrived from long vacation in the Philippines. We made runaway from winter for 3 months. And it was so cheap! We spent only 8000$ for 3 months! And that’s for 2 persons! We saw a lot, expierenced a lot. The best trip in my life! You should go there too! :)

  • 45. Elina  |  March 15th, 2014 at 5:02 am

    Hehe, my phone is strange! In previous comment I wanted to wrote my name but it paste part of my comment. Sorry. :P
    I think it was too hot for it in the Philippines. :D

  • 46. Jessica D.  |  March 16th, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    How was the weather? I really want to go to Phuket but have heard it’s ungodly hot. Do you know when the best time to travel there is?

  • 47. Amélie  |  March 16th, 2014 at 6:08 pm

    I’ve just spent a month in Northern Thailand, I’m Currently in Cambodia, after which I’m visiting Vietnam and Laos to ultimately return to Thailand in a few month to visit the South, so this really comes in handy! Although we don’t quite have the same hotel budget! Our max is 15$ a night, haha! But you’d be surprised at some of the gems we found found!

  • 48. Katharina  |  July 2nd, 2014 at 11:49 am

    Hi from switzerland. WOW! Thanks for sharing. You’d inspired me before I went to Thailand. AND we tested the hotel pimalai you write about. It was AWESOME! If you want have a look at the pics in my blog: http://bit.ly/1mldzax Its german, but you get the impession.

  • 49. first residence hotel tha&hellip  |  July 15th, 2014 at 5:54 am

    first residence hotel thailand

    THAILAND TRIP / PART TWO | D E S I G N L O V E F E S T

  • 50. Nancy  |  September 27th, 2014 at 9:09 am

    hi– just yesterday, my husband and I decided we are going Thailand…. soon! in November 2014. Your blog is very helpful for our planning… Lots of work, research ahead — thanks!

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